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posted by martyb on Tuesday May 09 2017, @08:12AM   Printer-friendly
from the big-brother's-private-sector-sibling? dept.

If the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a San Diego-based Republican state senator have their way, it will soon become legal for Californians to cover their license plates while parked as a way to thwart automated license plate readers.

Those devices, now commonly in use by law enforcement nationwide, can capture license plate numbers at a very high rate of speed, as well as record the GPS location, date, and time that a particular plate is seen. Those plates are then run against a "hot list" of stolen or wanted cars, and a cop is then alerted to the presence of any vehicle with a match on that list.

As written, the new senate bill would allow for law enforcement to manually lift a cover, or flap, as a way to manually inspect a plate number. The idea is not only to prevent dragnet license plate data collection by law enforcement, but also by private companies. A California company, Vigilant Solutions, is believed to have the largest private ALPR database in America, with billions of records.

Do we have a reasonable expectation of privacy in public?


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  • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Tuesday May 09 2017, @08:36AM (17 children)

    by kaszz (4211) on Tuesday May 09 2017, @08:36AM (#506789) Journal

    Does the law says that parked cars must have a clean license plate? Otherwise a simple pump with mud could fix this and remove it with another supply of washing fluid when driving.

    • (Score: 2) by Lagg on Tuesday May 09 2017, @09:00AM (3 children)

      by Lagg (105) on Tuesday May 09 2017, @09:00AM (#506796) Homepage Journal

      Chances are the cops have the washer fluid too. Or bottled water. Though I wonder how that would look in court. "This officer illegally washed my car"

      It's alright, eventually you won't need your own car.

      --
      http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
      • (Score: 4, Informative) by kaszz on Tuesday May 09 2017, @09:08AM (2 children)

        by kaszz (4211) on Tuesday May 09 2017, @09:08AM (#506800) Journal

        The problem is while they can wash it. The practicality of it is however dismal. The scanners are used by driving by, so as to read many plates fast. It's data gathering where the opportunity makes the surveillance.

        • (Score: 2) by rcamera on Tuesday May 09 2017, @03:27PM (1 child)

          by rcamera (2360) on Tuesday May 09 2017, @03:27PM (#506940) Homepage Journal

          during the latest NYC snowstorm, the MTA cancelled all trains for the remainder of the day. this left me "abandoned" in the city, which is very sucky. what's even suckier is that i only paid $8 for parking, which entitled me to only 1 day of parking, expiring at midnight that evening.

          the snow stopped early (~15:00, as expected), but trains were still canceled, so there was still no way out. i rented an overpriced room near the office, with the hopes that i would get reimbursed by the company. at ~00:05, the friendly local police farce where my car was parked SHOVELED A PATH TO MY CAR THROUGH THE PLOW-DRIFT AND CLEANED THE LICENSE (and a tiny bit of the windshield - just enough to put my wiper blade down so it could hold the shiny new $40 ticket; of course, the wiper blade then froze onto the window, as expected.)

          they CAN and WILL clean it if it helps with their quota.

          --
          /* no comment */
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @06:22PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @06:22PM (#507016)

            Yeah they were dicks.
            But that doesn't change the point, the only reason they put in that effort was because they were confident of a nearly 100% hit-rate.
            When the hit-rate is less than 1% that level of effort isn't worth it.

    • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Tuesday May 09 2017, @09:00AM (6 children)

      by MostCynical (2589) on Tuesday May 09 2017, @09:00AM (#506797) Journal

      Australian vehicles must have plates which are visible at 20m, not obscured in any way.
      http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/documents/roads/safety-rules/standards/vsi-58-number-plate-visibility.pdf [nsw.gov.au]

      --
      "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @09:34AM (5 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @09:34AM (#506805)

        Australian vehicles must have plates which are visible at 20m, not obscured in any way.

        Not even by physics (geometry and perspective)? How are then visible at 20m from each side?

        ...roads/safety-rules...

        Not about parked vehicles.

        • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Tuesday May 09 2017, @09:56AM (4 children)

          by MostCynical (2589) on Tuesday May 09 2017, @09:56AM (#506815) Journal

          There are no exceptions for parked/driving/being towed - you're not allowed to cover it up, in public (dirty weekend off road? The Law expects you to clean your windows, mirrors and plates before driving (or parking) on public roads)

          --
          "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
          • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Tuesday May 09 2017, @08:23PM (3 children)

            by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday May 09 2017, @08:23PM (#507096)

            So what if someone parks behind you on the street (parallel parking)? You can't read someone's plate from 20m away if there's another car parked immediately behind them.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @11:51AM (5 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @11:51AM (#506836)

      > Does the law says that parked cars must have a clean license plate?

      I find it hard to believe that cars parked on private property (which is basically every parking lot) must display a license plate.
      On-street parking, yes, but not parking lots. You don't need a plate to operate a vehicle on your own land, it shouldn't be any different if you are on someone else's land either.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @12:16PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @12:16PM (#506843)

        If it would apply to cars on private property, everyone parking his car in a garage with the garage door closed would be in trouble, as the garage door obviously obstructs the view of the license plate.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @12:39PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @12:39PM (#506853)

        Several private and public authorities will make it an issue if your car is on your property, but not displaying current stickers.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @01:38PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @01:38PM (#506886)

          I already ran into this problem with an unregistered car parked on Ca private property. The cops said if a car is visible from the street it has to have current registration, otherwise it has to be hidden from view from the street.

          • (Score: 1) by Scruffy Beard 2 on Tuesday May 09 2017, @03:23PM (1 child)

            by Scruffy Beard 2 (6030) on Tuesday May 09 2017, @03:23PM (#506938)

            In my jurisdiction using a car cover in an acceptable way of hiding an unregistered vehicle.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @05:15PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @05:15PM (#506986)

              Again in Ca, it has to be behind a solid fence or in a garage. Car covers have to have the license plate number printed on them if seen from the street.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by bradley13 on Tuesday May 09 2017, @09:39AM (1 child)

    by bradley13 (3053) on Tuesday May 09 2017, @09:39AM (#506809) Homepage Journal

    Do we have a right to privacy in public? Yes, actually, we do.

    Imagine an organization that runs security cameras for many different companies. The cameras are all in public locations, or in businesses open to the public. They decide to run the videos they capture through facial recognition software, put together a profile of each individual's activities, and sell that information. Can they? It's all public information, after all.

    Maybe it's harmless for some people. Others might prefer that their visit to the sex-toy shop not be general knowledge. The information could also be used for criminal purposes, like discovering which bank a business uses for after-hours deposits.

    Individual bits of public information are mostly harmless, but there is an argument for restricting it, precisely to prevent lots of those bits from being assembled into a larger profile. In TFA: mass documentation of which car is where - by officials or by private companies - sounds like exactly the sort of thing we want to prevent.

    --
    Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by PusaAtDaga on Tuesday May 09 2017, @11:00AM

      by PusaAtDaga (6578) on Tuesday May 09 2017, @11:00AM (#506828)

      Agreed. I am not opposed to the police scanning plates to compare to a list of wanted vehicles. I do oppose retaining the scan of a vehicle without a warrant. The limited technology of the past prevented mass surveillance since it would require manpower. Now that they can automate surveillance we need to update the rules of what the government can do in public.

  • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by webhiker on Tuesday May 09 2017, @12:08PM (7 children)

    by webhiker (497) on Tuesday May 09 2017, @12:08PM (#506841)

    Is the author a complete idiot who doesn't know speed is already a rate, so he's effectively saying rate of rate of speed, i.e. acceleration?
    Seriously, do you united stateans never auto-correct these phrases brought in to common circulation by your brain-dead media?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @12:19PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @12:19PM (#506844)

      No, rate of speed isn't acceleration; acceleration would be rate of change of speed.

      Rate of speed is simply nonsense.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @12:23PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @12:23PM (#506847)

      Please tell us how CD discs and ATM machines are also signs of the apocalypse.
      Pedant for Life!!!

    • (Score: 2) by AthanasiusKircher on Tuesday May 09 2017, @01:47PM (2 children)

      by AthanasiusKircher (5291) on Tuesday May 09 2017, @01:47PM (#506898) Journal

      Is the author a complete idiot who doesn't know speed is already a rate, so he's effectively saying rate of rate of speed, i.e. acceleration?

      No, because that's NOT how the word is EVER used. I never was aware of this before, but after reading your post, I searched for "rate of speed" in a search engine, which immediately turns up a number of pedantic discussions complaining about its usage.

      Huh. I'll completely agree that it is REDUNDANT, but so are many other examples of English idioms, so I'm not sure why this one causes such concern. But the assertion that you (and a number of other internet folks) are making is simply not how the word works. For example, if you type "at a rate of 60 words/minute," it doesn't mean that you accelerate your typing at 60 words/minute per something else. Words/minute is a "speed" as is 60 miles/hour or km/hour or whatever. What exactly is the usage difference between saying driving "at a rate of 90 miles/hour" and "driving at a high rate of speed"?

      I think the confusion comes in because SOMETIMES the word "rate" is used with the time units implied. For example, when we speak of the "rate of inflation," it's almost always assumed that we mean inflation per year. But that only works in specific contexts where the time unit is clear by English usage convention. On the other hand, saying "a rate of 60 words" is ambiguous. Yes, the most likely time unit is probably minutes (whether we're measuring typing speed or speaking speed or whatever), but generally we'd clarify by saying "a rate of 60 words per minute" or whatever.

      Also, please note that the very first definition of "rate" at Merriam-Webster [merriam-webster.com] is "reckoned value," i.e., a deliberate measurement. That seems to be why it gets used by police and legal statutes and such -- "I observed him travelling at a rate of 90 miles per hour" implies a measurement. I'll agree it's still redundant, but again it's hardly the only place English does that. And note that such measurements do not have to CHANGE over time. We can measure a "rate of crime" which is not a measure of how much crime is changing, but simply the amount of crime (generally measured as a crimes per X people). It's true that such "rates" often have an implicit time element too, often "per year," but that's not actually required.

      In any case, even when these implicit "per years" are assumed in English usage (as in "rate of inflation"), it is NEVER assumed that one is invoking a second-order time derivative. So, sorry internet ranters, but there's absolutely no justification in any other English usage for assuming that "rate of speed" should mean "acceleration."

      Seriously, do you united stateans never auto-correct these phrases brought in to common circulation by your brain-dead media?

      The term "rate of speed" is quite common in English and particularly in legal statutes. Note that despite your association of this as an Americanism, it has been common usage in both American and British English since at least the 1800s, as a quick Google Books [google.com] search can show). Google Ngram viewer does indicate [google.com] that its frequency as a phrase has declined somewhat since it was most popular in the early 1900s.

      • (Score: 2) by Arik on Tuesday May 09 2017, @02:29PM (1 child)

        by Arik (4543) on Tuesday May 09 2017, @02:29PM (#506920) Journal
        Thanks for that one.

        I think the worst thing about the word in this usage is redundancy. Every or virtually every text* where it occurs can be improved by removing it, and without any sort of drawback.

        She types at a rate of 80wpm              NO! ====> She types at 80wpm.

        travelling at a rate of 90 miles per hour NO! ====> traveling at 90 miles per hour

        the interest rate is 18 percent (yearly)  NO! ====> the interest is 18 percent (yearly)

        *I say text specifically because while redundancy is a bad thing in text, it's not always a bad thing in spoken communication. Some redundancy is good there, as it helps to minimize the need to backtrack and repeat or clarify things that are somehow garbled in transmission.
        --
        If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
        • (Score: 2) by AthanasiusKircher on Tuesday May 09 2017, @02:50PM

          by AthanasiusKircher (5291) on Tuesday May 09 2017, @02:50PM (#506927) Journal

          Absolutely agree. But, as I said, it's hardly the only English idiom where redundancy is common [grammarist.com].

          What I find amusing is how rather than realizing this is just another example of redundancy, so many folks have apparently tried to read a physics analogy into it that doesn't agree with any other English usage. (Even in "physics speak," "rate" isn't used that way. "Rate of position" doesn't mean speed, if it means anything at all. "Rate of acceleration" even appears in many physics textbooks and doesn't mean a third-order derivative. Etc.)

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @03:28PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @03:28PM (#506942)

      Gotta join in the angry mob flaming you about "rate of speed" vs. "change in speed." Human languages for the most part are not languages of logic or precision. They're fuzzy things chock full of idioms and figures of speech, abound with ambiguity. They're not even self-consistent. You can't take a first year language class without coming across at least one irregular verb in the first couple of weeks. Academics attempt to publish "RFCs" like The Elements of Style [wikipedia.org] but the unwashed masses with their common usage will always win. Even then, there's the infamous Oxford comma. Get over it.

      If you want a thought that will really drive you nuts, I wouldn't be surprised if the greengrocers' apostrophe becomes a grammatically correct way of forming a plural in English given enough time.

      That being said, have you given Lojban [wikipedia.org] a try? You might like it.

      • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Tuesday May 09 2017, @05:33PM

        by kaszz (4211) on Tuesday May 09 2017, @05:33PM (#506996) Journal

        What advantage does Lojban have over Esperanto?

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @12:30PM (6 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @12:30PM (#506850)

    When I've been in California, I've seen numerous cars with no plate. Asked around and didn't get a good answer, but it seems like it's possible to drive legally for awhile before you are required to install the plate? Anyone clarify this?

    At the other end of the country in New York State, you better have plates on both ends of your car or you will be stopped.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @12:44PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @12:44PM (#506860)

      6 months I hear. That's what Steve Jobs kept doing, as he parked in handicapped spots.

      • (Score: 0, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @01:22PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @01:22PM (#506878)

        Karma was a bitch.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @06:29PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @06:29PM (#507024)

        > he parked in handicapped spots.

        Only on apple property.
        In lieu of having a "reserved for CEO" parking spot.
        It sounds like a dick move, but in terms of practical effect its better that there be one more handicap spot that is sometime available than a spot that is never available despite being frequently empty.

        If I were Jobs I would have just hired a driver and never worried about it all.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @06:02PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @06:02PM (#507009)

      The last time I bought a car, even though I had a normal plate, I had to also display a temporary placard in the rear window for 30 days. You may not have noticed them taped inside of the rear windows.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @08:32PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @08:32PM (#507102)

      Usually you will have a used car dealer insert in place of the license plate, and you are expected to have a red square temporary (also used while waiting for new registration tags or to operate your vehicle temporarily in order to get it smogged/repaired.) The reason for this is that used car dealerships are supposed to give up a car's original license plates when plated in the dealer's yard. It is supposed to help avoid issues with people stealing cars from used car lots and running around in them with old owner info still tied to the plates. Honestly I don't understand how any of that is an issue in the digital age, but that is the basics of the why.

      The how is that people use it as a way to avoid speeding tickets and identification, along with illegal tints, in order to avoid tying the car, and their illegal operations while in control of it to irrefutable proof it is theirs.

      Since the paper temporaries are almost impossible to read inside the rear window (even untinted!) the only way to verify registration is to pull the owner over, which happens on occasion, but most cops don't want the hassle unless they catch them driving erratically, or they're low on quota for the month.

    • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Tuesday May 09 2017, @08:39PM

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Tuesday May 09 2017, @08:39PM (#507109) Homepage

      Probably Ricer motherfuckers who don't have the front plate on, because its edgy or something. Then when they get pulled over they pull the plate out and put it on their dashboard while giggling sheepishly.

  • (Score: 2) by ledow on Tuesday May 09 2017, @01:50PM (9 children)

    by ledow (5567) on Tuesday May 09 2017, @01:50PM (#506899) Homepage

    Cop walks down road.

    Sees a car with a covered number plate.

    Suspicions raised, now have reasonable cause to investigate - and find every section of bald tire, faulty light, whatever other violation they can pin that they wouldn't normally bother with.

    Though I'm sure it will stop AUTOMATED picking up of your vehicle, I imagine it will attract a lot more UNAUTOMATED attention. Especially if you forget to make it visible again before you drive down the road.

    And, let's be honest. There's nothing stopping you being scanned getting to or from wherever you parked it from. As such, you don't even need to join the dots, whether that was your home or a car park.

    The future is not police cars with cameras, that's old hat already and police cars in the UK have ANPR written on the side of a ton of them and will automatically pick up out-of-tax, or declared-offroad, or no-test vehicles. That's been around for 20+ years, to my knowledge (I remember seeing it on one of those old police shows back when I was younger, including a Fred Flintstone "Yahoo!" every time the police car picked up a plate that shouldn't be on the road.

    The future is just a camera on every junction, capturing every part of your journey. Which is already a reality on most major roads anyway. Automatic average speed detection, invalid car detection, journey and usage monitoring ("So you say you've ONLY JUST TODAY driven uninsured?"), etc. from a static cam on every major road.

    A lot easier to manage than a fleet of fast-moving vehicles picking you up from moving footage and trying to talk home at high data rates to correlate with the databases.

    • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Tuesday May 09 2017, @02:53PM (6 children)

      by tangomargarine (667) on Tuesday May 09 2017, @02:53PM (#506929)

      The future is just a camera on every junction, capturing every part of your journey. Which is already a reality on most major roads anyway. Automatic average speed detection, invalid car detection, journey and usage monitoring ("So you say you've ONLY JUST TODAY driven uninsured?"), etc. from a static cam on every major road.

      I take it you're a Brit? Americans aren't used to getting anal probed every other pace in public.

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @05:30PM (4 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @05:30PM (#506993)

        Really? The major cities that I've been in on the east coast of the US are covered in cameras. Not to the extent of London, but still highly tracked. There are also EZ-pass readers set up for traffic monitoring purposes in addition to tolls.

        • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Tuesday May 09 2017, @06:17PM (3 children)

          by tangomargarine (667) on Tuesday May 09 2017, @06:17PM (#507014)

          A lot of the population in the U.S. doesn't live on the coasts.

          --
          "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
          • (Score: 2) by NotSanguine on Tuesday May 09 2017, @09:20PM (2 children)

            A third of the population in the U.S. doesn't live on the coasts.

            There. FTFY.

            Which means two thirds [theusaonline.com] do live on the coasts, with a plurality (38%) on the East coast.

            --
            No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
            • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Tuesday May 09 2017, @10:16PM (1 child)

              by tangomargarine (667) on Tuesday May 09 2017, @10:16PM (#507158)

              You don't consider a third of 320 million people to be "a lot"?

              --
              "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
              • (Score: 2) by NotSanguine on Tuesday May 09 2017, @10:29PM

                You don't consider a third of 320 million people to be "a lot"?

                I certainly do. That is a lot of people. I was merely being specific.

                Given that GP mentioned the ubiquity of cameras/tracking on the east coast, I was just pointing out that more people live on the coasts (and more on the East coast than not on the coasts) than not. Which has implications WRT privacy and surveillance for a plurality of the US.

                --
                No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
      • (Score: 2) by Anal Pumpernickel on Wednesday May 10 2017, @01:18AM

        by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Wednesday May 10 2017, @01:18AM (#507228)

        The TSA violates the right of countless people every day in airports, the NSA conducts mass surveillance on the populace, we have DUI checkpoints where the police stop everyone, and so on. I guess those might be different things than what you're talking about, but they're not really any better.

    • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Tuesday May 09 2017, @05:42PM

      by kaszz (4211) on Tuesday May 09 2017, @05:42PM (#506999) Journal

      Another possibility is to print a lot of real size stickers with random license plate identifiers to essentially mess up the license plate scanners. Or just plaster your own a little bit everywhere.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @06:54PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 09 2017, @06:54PM (#507048)

      > Cop walks down road.

      In most of USA this is a false premise...

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by meustrus on Tuesday May 09 2017, @02:00PM (9 children)

    by meustrus (4961) on Tuesday May 09 2017, @02:00PM (#506905)

    Do we have a reasonable expectation of privacy in public?

    Before we tackle the legal question - which is really just an exercise in pedantry - we must ask ourselves: should we have an expectation of privacy in public?

    Like most problems, we can find the answer by examining the consequences of the alternative. Imagine a world in which everything you do in public is subject to automatic, pervasive surveillance. Public crime can always be caught as a result. But like the real world, we still have corruption, a backlog of weird laws nobody ever thinks about, and a police force that must find the best use for its limited time and resources. Therefore, opponents of the rich and powerful will find themselves dragged away, everything we do will be subject to a weird twilight zone of "is it legal?", and the police will target enforcement at "problem" areas, creating a bias that keeps statistically criminal populations (or whomever else the police choose to target for arbitrary reasons) oppressed without revealing such activities to those with the power to do anything about it.

    Faced with these pressures in public spaces, those with the means to do so will retreat further into private spaces. Huge swaths of land will be cordoned off into private ranches where police surveillance is not allowed. Gradually, the rule of law will become less effective in such spaces as police lose even basic access to enforce it. Ultimately, the gap will have widened substantially between those who can afford their privacy and those who cannot. Furthermore, the social effects of automatic, pervasive surveillance as outlined above will make it even more difficult for the poor and powerless to rise above their circumstances. In short, the American Dream will die.

    So yes, we should have an expectation of privacy in public. Ultimately, the distinction between public and private exacerbates existing inequalities. But even more importantly, we as a society simply are not prepared to place omnipresent surveillance powers into the hands of anyone. Our systems simply don't have any checks in place against that kind of unfettered power.

    --
    If there isn't at least one reference or primary source, it's not +1 Informative. Maybe the underused +1 Interesting?
    • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Tuesday May 09 2017, @02:50PM (1 child)

      by tangomargarine (667) on Tuesday May 09 2017, @02:50PM (#506928)

      and the police will target enforcement at "problem" areas, creating a bias that keeps statistically criminal populations

      Not to mention it would be pretty easy to *create* statistically criminal areas based on, say, ethnicity by patrolling there and arresting everybody who jaywalks or litters or whatever you can pin on them.

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
      • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Tuesday May 09 2017, @06:54PM

        by kaszz (4211) on Tuesday May 09 2017, @06:54PM (#507047) Journal

        It can be correlated with other data to find the correct prevalence.

    • (Score: 2) by NotSanguine on Tuesday May 09 2017, @09:27PM (6 children)

      Before we tackle the legal question - which is really just an exercise in pedantry - we must ask ourselves: should we have an expectation of privacy in public?

      I think that's the wrong question. The right question is "Should we have an expectation of anonymity in public?"

      There's no reason for law enforcement or other government agency to know who we are and where we're going, unless there's a public safety issue (and that's a pretty broad category), even if they are surveiling public places.

      Both public agencies and private entities are within their rights to mount cameras and identify those who are on their premises. As such, privacy isn't really practical in public spaces. However, at least as far as government is concerned, they should not attach a name to a person, car or other conveyance unless there is a specific, legitimate reason to breach someone's anonymity.

      Perhaps I'm splitting semantic hairs, but I don't think so.

      --
      No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
      • (Score: 2) by meustrus on Tuesday May 09 2017, @09:43PM (5 children)

        by meustrus (4961) on Tuesday May 09 2017, @09:43PM (#507137)

        No, I think anonymity is quite a different beast. As we've seen on the internet, giving people anonymity in a public space leads directly to harassment. It should not be impossible to identify an individual, because that's the only way to provide consequences for their actions.

        Anyway, the meaning of privacy here is "only the people you mean to engage with know what you are doing". That's not the same thing as anonymity.

        --
        If there isn't at least one reference or primary source, it's not +1 Informative. Maybe the underused +1 Interesting?
        • (Score: 2) by NotSanguine on Tuesday May 09 2017, @10:37PM

          It should not be impossible to identify an individual, because that's the only way to provide consequences for their actions.

          You make my point for me. I said:

          There's no reason for law enforcement or other government agency to know who we are and where we're going, unless there's a public safety issue (and that's a pretty broad category), even if they are surveiling public places

          The technology is in place. You can't stop folks from watching/tracking you. Which means that when you do stuff in public, others can and will see it. As such, you already don't have privacy in public spaces. The privacy in public spaces ship has sailed, and I don't think it's coming back into port anytime soon.

          What we can do (or at least try to do) is to create a framework where law enforcement and other government entities are forbidden from identifying you unless there's a public safety issue. That's (relative) anonymity.

          --
          No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
        • (Score: 2) by Anal Pumpernickel on Wednesday May 10 2017, @01:25AM

          by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Wednesday May 10 2017, @01:25AM (#507231)

          As we've seen on the internet, giving people anonymity in a public space leads directly to harassment.

          That's a price I'm more than willing to pay. I care more about anonymity than I do about stopping 'bad guys' or "harassment" (an incredibly broad term). Bring on the unbreakable anonymity (which doesn't exist anyway), I say.

        • (Score: 2) by Justin Case on Wednesday May 10 2017, @02:13PM (2 children)

          by Justin Case (4239) on Wednesday May 10 2017, @02:13PM (#507542) Journal

          on the internet... anonymity in a public space leads directly to harassment. It should not be impossible to identify an individual, because that's the only way to provide consequences for their actions.

          Wait, are you talking about speech ("harassment" on the internet) or actions?

          Because some of us are free to speak our thoughts, and we find that a good thing.

          What "consequences" do you think are mandatory in response to certain words you don't like? Mandatory, because you must be able to impose those consequences on an actual identifiable non-anonymous person and not just by replying with other words.

          • (Score: 2) by meustrus on Wednesday May 10 2017, @03:55PM (1 child)

            by meustrus (4961) on Wednesday May 10 2017, @03:55PM (#507594)

            I'm talking about swatting and doxxing in the most extreme, as well as general mass shit-talking at the most basic. In the extreme, people need to be held legally accountable for committing criminal acts. In the most basic, people need to be held socially accountable for being assholes. I'm not advocating for any consequences that don't already exist outside of the internet.

            --
            If there isn't at least one reference or primary source, it's not +1 Informative. Maybe the underused +1 Interesting?
            • (Score: 2) by Justin Case on Wednesday May 10 2017, @08:27PM

              by Justin Case (4239) on Wednesday May 10 2017, @08:27PM (#507724) Journal

              OK thanks for the clarification; I'm with you on swatting and doxxing because they spill over into the "real" (non-online) world.

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